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Robert Spencer is on the Ropes; Spencer’s Bumbling Reply to LoonWatch

For those of you just joining us, let’s recap: Robert Spencer wrote a book entitled The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades.  Chapter four of this book is entitled “Islam: Religion of Intolerance.”  On p.47, he summarizes the chapter into three points:

*Islamic law mandates second-class status for Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims in Islamic society.

*These laws have never been abrogated or revised by any authority.

*The idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false. [1]

I then wrote a rebuttal of the third point, promising to write a follow up article dealing with the first two.  Spencer took a look at my rebuttal and replied, as follows:

As for the one you did link, I took a look. It is an extended (very extended) example of the familiar tu quoque fallacy in which Islamic apologists always indulge: other people have done evil, and therefore our evil is not so bad or not to be spoken of. There are two chief problems with this:

1. I have never said or implied that Muslims have a monopoly on evil. Every group has been guilty of some wrongdoing. Does this mean we should not discuss the threats to human rights constituted by Islamic supremacism? I don’t think so.

2. Even if what this person is saying were true, the whole premise is wrong: the church never had a “doctrine” regarding these matters. These were practices applied in various times and places, never universally, and not based on any church law. In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews. This is in sharp contrast to the laws of dhimmitude that are taught by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

And most importantly, no church is behaving in such ways as are described in this article today, but Islamic jihadists in Gaza and elsewhere have declared their intention to reimpose the dhimma on Jews and Christians when they are able to do so.

Cordially
Robert Spencer

Here is my counter-reply, as follows:

Dear Robert Spencer,

You said:

It is an extended (very extended) example of the familiar tu quoque fallacy in which Islamic apologists always indulge: other people have done evil, and therefore our evil is not so bad or not to be spoken of.

I certainly never said that the “evil is not so bad.”  What I said was that the “evil” (your choice of words) done to infidels in the Islamic realm was historically less than that done to infidels in Christendom.  And I said that to negate chapter four of your book, in which you specifically wrote “the idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false,” and “the Muslim laws were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom.”  I am fact-checking your book, and you made a claim, and I refuted it.  Simple as that.  Now it is up to you to either defend your initial claim or concede that you were wrong to state it.

You have a problem with Islamic apologists who downplay or whitewash the abuses of the Islamic past.  But you yourself are a Catholic apologist who downplays and whitewashes the abuses of the Christian past. You replace myth with counter-myth.  I, on the other hand, look at the cold hard facts.  And the facts are quite clear: the Islamic apologists are wrong to claim that there was an interfaith utopia, but you were wrong to claim that it was worse for infidels in the Islamic world than in Christendom.

As for the claim that I think the “evil…is not to be spoken of,” I never said that either.   My article was rigidly fair, speaking of the discrimination prevalent in the Islamic world.  The issue here, however, is you, who speaks so much on the topic, yet downplays and completely ignores the even greater abuses in Christian history.

The reason that you are forced to downplay and ignore the abuses in Christian history is obvious: it would completely neutralize your argument which could then no longer be used as a stick to beat the Muslims over the head with.  I don’t have a problem with discussing history.  I do, however, have a problem with weaponizing history, which is what you do; you downplay and ignore one side’s abuses, exaggerate the other sides, and then top it off with sensationalist fear mongering.  In your own words on the cover of your book: “Muslim persecution of Christians has continued for 13 centuries.”  I guess replacing that with the more balanced “Muslims and Christians persecuted each other” would not sell as many books, eh?

You call it a tu quoque fallacy.  I call it common sense.  You cannot possibly single out and demonize the Muslim community–and Islam–when in fact the same criticisms apply equally if not more to all other religious communities and religions–and yours in specific! It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  One can and should discuss shortcomings and even horrific abuses of the past, but this can be done without the singling out and demonizing which you specialize in and have made into a career.

But in any case, we need not discuss the implications of your statement yet.  Right now, the issue is about the veracity of your statement that the Jews were persecuted more in the Islamic world than in Christendom.  That is a false claim.  You can try to muddy the waters as much as you want, but the bottom line is that your book is based on a horrendous error at best–if not a boldfaced lie.

You said:

1. I have never said or implied that Muslims have a monopoly on evil. Every group has been guilty of some wrongdoing.

Did I ever say that you said the Muslims have a monopoly on evil?  Or that you deny that every group has “some” wrongdoing?  You implied in your book that historically the Muslims persecuted Jews much more than Christians ever did.  That was your statement which I refuted, so stop moving the goalposts.  Either defend the thesis in your book, or admit that you were wrong.

You then said:

Does this mean we should not discuss the threats to human rights constituted by Islamic supremacism?

Who said otherwise?  Once again, stop trying to squirm your way out of this.  It’s very simple: you made a claim in your book, and I refuted it.  Your claim was that the Muslims persecuted Jews more than the Christians did.  This was your explicit claim, and your implicit claim was that there was a monumental difference between the persecuting Islamic society on the one hand and the supposedly freedom-loving Christian society on the other.  (As you put it: “In Christian lands there was the idea, however imperfect, of the equality of dignity and rights for all people.” [2])  The reality of course is anything but.  Again: either defend your thesis, or concede; don’t change the topic to something else.

You said:

…the church never had a “doctrine” regarding these matters. These were practices applied in various times and places, never universally, and not based on any church law.

Spencer, this is now getting frustrating.  Yes, the Church had a doctrine; they are the ones who founded it!  The doctrine of Witness, and of Perpetual Servitude of the Jews,  was enunciated by the Church, and the state later adopted it into their concept of Serfs of the Royal Chamber. This was adopted virtually “universally” in the realm of Christendom.  Perhaps you ought to read my rebuttal again.  Clearly, it was the Church who originated the concept of Perpetual Servitude, propagated it, and championed it.  In fact, as I discussed in my rebuttal the Church competed with the state over which would own the Jews.

The anti-Jewish laws were based in Church doctrine.  Again, read my rebuttal again before saying something so absolutely false.  It leads me to believe that either (1) you don’t possess adequate reading comprehension abilities, or (2) you’ve been refuted so thoroughly that you can’t come up with any counter-point.

Then you said:

In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews.

It was through the infallible papal bulls that such ideas as Perpetual Servitude became preponderant in Christendom.  Just to give one such example: the Pope in 1452 issued a bull that called for the Christians to “reduce into perpetual servitude” the infidels.

It is true that the papacy forbade killing off the Jews, but the reason for that–as I discussed in my rebuttal–was due to the doctrine of the Witness: Jews were to endure in order to witness the triumph of Christianity and Christ.  According to this doctrine, the Jews were to live in a miserable state of “perpetual servitude” which would then serve as a living proof of their misguidance.  So yes, the popes did prevent the complete elimination of the Jews, but only that they may live in serfdom/slavery.  Similarly, the Church fathers ruled that all of a Jew’s property could be confiscated except the absolute bare minimum which was needed for his survival; again, the Jew must endure to serve as Witness.

Spencer’s statement was challenged by the anti-Islam bigot sheik yer’mami

With all due respect, Robert: “In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews” – really? I have a problem with that.

There were some pretty awful popes in the history of the church, and all the things that were done to Jews could hardly have been done without their consent. Throughout the history of the Catholic church we see consolidated efforts to reign in the bishops who were getting too powerful and who were also warlords, something which is probably very little known.

That aside, I don’t think you can find much evidence that popes were opposed to the persecution of Jews….

Spencer then replied with:

Sheik

The record is not monochromatic, but actually, yes, I can find plenty.

First, the bad news. Pope Zachary reaffirmed a prohibition on intermarriage. Leo VII directed the archbishop of Mainz to expel Jews who refused to convert to Christianity from cities within his diocese. Pope Gregory VII forbade Jews to hold authority over Christians.

The Fourth Lateran Council decreed in 1215 that Jews must wear distinctive garb—a directive initially emphasized, then suspended, then insisted upon again by Pope Honorius III. Gregory IX led a campaign against Jewish books that led to a massive book-burning in Paris. Nicholas III required Jews to assemble to hear proselytizing sermons and ordered that those who had been baptized but then returned to Judaism be “turned over to the secular power”—which meant almost certain execution. Honorius IV wrote a letter to the English bishops warning them about Jewish efforts to convert Christians—which ultimately led to the expulsion of the Jews from England. Pope John XXII resumed the campaign against Jewish books, ordering the Talmud suppressed. Centuries later, in 1858, police of the Papal States seized a six-year-old Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara, from his family because a Catholic servant girl who worked for the family had baptized him. Pope Pius IX refused numerous entreaties to return the boy to his family. Mortara became a Catholic priest and died in 1940. Many consider the incident one of the chief obstacles to the canonization of Pius IX.

But as I said, the papal record is not monochromatic. Historian and Rabbi David Dalin says this: “The historical fact is that popes have often spoken out in defense of the Jews, have protected them during times of persecution and pogroms, and have protected their right to worship freely in their synagogues. Popes have traditionally defended Jews from wild anti-Semitic allegations. Popes regularly condemned anti-Semites who sought to incite violence against Jews.”

This is not, as some might think, a strictly modern phenomenon. For instance, Pope Gregory I, who wrote harshly of the Jews’ rejection of Christ, nevertheless issued an edict dictating that Jews “should have no infringement of their rights. … We forbid to vilify the Jews. We allow them to live as Romans and to have full authority over their possessions.” When a bishop in Palermo seized a synagogue and converted it into a church, the building could not be returned to its former owner because it had now been consecrated; however, Gregory ordered the bishop to pay the owners a fair price, so that the Jews “should in no way appear to be oppressed, or to suffer an injustice.” He also forbade forced conversion of Jews, a prohibition later repeated by Gregory IV.

Pope Gregory I’s directives formed the basis of the Jews’ status in Western Europe for a considerable time thereafter. Pope Alexander II commended bishops in Narbonne and Spain for protecting Jews from attacks by Christians. When would-be Crusaders massacred Jews in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, and elsewhere before the First Crusade, it is noteworthy that local bishops often acted to end these slaughters. Pope Calixtus II thereafter reaffirmed Gregory’s prohibition of attacks on Jews, and also forbade forced conversion and attacks on synagogues.

The popes also held fast against forced conversions and attacks on the Jews. Pope Innocent III, although he condemned Jews as “the sons of the crucifiers, against whom to this day the blood cries to the Father’s ears,” stated: “For we make the law that no Christian compel them, unwilling or refusing, by violence to come to baptism.
Too, no Christian ought to presume…wickedly to injure their persons, or with violence to take away their property, or to change the good customs which they have had until now in whatever region they inhabit. Besides, in the celebration of their own festivals, no one ought to disturb them in any way, with clubs or stones, nor ought any one try to require from them or to extort from them services they do not owe, except for those they have been accustomed from times past to perform. In addition to these, We decree…that no one ought to dare to mutilate or diminish a Jewish cemetery, nor, in order to get money, to exhume bodies once they have been buried.”

Those who dared transgress these prohibitions were threatened with excommunication. Innocent also noted that Calixtus and four other popes had extended the same protections to the Jews. According to Dalin, “Calixtus’s defense of the Jews, with its promise of continuing papal protection, was reissued at least twenty-two times by successive popes between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.”

Of course, this reissuing wouldn’t have been necessary if Jews were not continually being attacked in Europe. Many of these attacks centered around the “blood libel,” the contention that Jews killed Christian children and mixed their blood into their Passover matzoh. Pope Innocent IV issued a strong denial of the blood libel, as did Gregory X, Martin V, and Sixtus IV. Paul III denounced those who “pretend, in order to despoil them of their goods, that the Jews kill little children and drink their blood.” That this had to be repeated over several centuries testifies to the persistence of the libel in Christian Europe, but nevertheless, excommunication was consistently the penalty for those who spread such stories or victimized Jews on such a basis.

Gregory X also affirmed the validity of Jewish testimony, declaring, “An accusation against Jews based solely on the testimony of Christians was invalid; Jewish witnesses must also appear.” Clement VI defended Jews from charges that they were responsible for the Black Death; Boniface IX granted full Roman citizenship to Jews; Martin V directed that “every Christian treat the Jews with a humane kindness” and forbade preachers “to preach against the Jews, to attempt to interrupt their normal relations with their neighbors, to infringe upon their religious rights, or to exclude them from normal activities (including attendance at universities).” He also reaffirmed the repudiation of the blood libel.

Leo X ordered the entire Talmud to be printed by a Christian printer in Rome so as to discourage anti-Semitic rumors about its contents. Clement VII commissioned a new translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, to be completed by six Christians and six Jews working together.

Innocent X and Benedict XIV both worked to end the blood libel and the persecution of Jews in Poland. Leo XIII spoke out in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, a French military officer wrongly accused of treason in a notorious case. Pius X and Benedict XV acted against anti-Semitism in Italian politics and media. It was thus not without justification that Pius XI was able to write in 1928: “Moved by this Christian charity, the Holy See has always protected this people [the Jews] against unjust vexations, and just as it reprobates all rancour and conflicts between peoples, it particularly condemns unreservedly hatred against the people once chosen by God: the hatred that commonly goes by the name of anti-Semitism.” Pius XI used his encyclical letter Mit Brennender Sorge — pointedly written in German instead of Latin, and directed to the German bishops — to condemn the anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime. The Nazis, in response, forbade its publication in Germany and denounced Pius XI as half-Jewish. That encyclical, drafted by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who two years later became Pope Pius XII, declared: “Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community—however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things—whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.”

When Vienna’s Cardinal Innitzer rang the city’s church bells to celebrate Hitler’s entry into the city after the Anchluss in 1938, Pius XI called Innitzer to Rome and rebuked him — and, according to historian Michael Phayer, had the rebuke “communicated through diplomatic channels to the United States so that world governments would know where the Vatican stood regarding Hitler’s Germany.” On September 6, 1938, he told a group of pilgrims from Belgium that “anti-Semitism is inadmissible; spiritually, we are all Semites.”

The record of Pope Pius XII is controversial, but there has been a good deal of misinformation publicized about it. In reality, he helped save many hundreds of thousands of Jews and was memorialized at Yad Veshem. The campaign to blacken his name began later.

Cordially
Robert Spencer

With regards to the papacy, it held a somewhat contradictory position throughout history; it was a source of great intolerance but at the same time it placed some limits to intolerance which benefited the Jews.  This is all because the Church adopted the doctrine of Witness, which–as I have explained in some detail in my rebuttal (and reiterated above)–argued that Jews ought not to be killed in order that they might endure as living witnesses of the triumph of Christianity and Christ.  But they were to live in a state of perpetual servitude, in order that their pitiful condition prove to the world their defeat for supposedly slaying Jesus.  To this effect, we read:

The Catholic Church, in its triumphant march toward the spiritual unification of the world, was mortified that among all the cults that had flourished in the Roman Empire, only the Synagogue had been able to withstand Christian propaganda.  The only obstacle in the path of the Christians toward religious supremacy was the handful of Jews “stubbornly entrenched in their satanic blindness.”  It is not surprising that the Church yielded to the temptation of using its secular power and influence with the princes to reduce these stubborn, unyielding unbelievers to a state of pariahdom on the fringes of society.

A distinction must be drawn, however, between the attitude of the Papacy and that of the lower clergy.  The Papacy was on the whole much less hostile, and maintained in principle the attitude of genuine ambivalence that had developed out of the original schism.

The official attitude of the Church had been defined by Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) in his Constitutio pro Judeis, wherein he established the principles protecting the religious practices of the Jews within the strict limits of the Law.  The thirteenth century Popes reaffirmed the principles of Gregory I but emphasized the more hostile aspects of his pronouncements.  Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) defined the theological position of the Jews in Christian world thus:

“The Jews’ guilt of the crucifixion of Jesus consigned them to perpetual servitude, and, like Cain, they are to be wanderers and fugitives…the Jews will not dare to raise their necks, bowed under the yoke of perpetual slavery, against the reverence of the Christian faith.”

And yet these same thirteenth century Popes appealed to Christian charity to protect the Jews from excessive persecution.  The theological reasons adduced from this protection were that the Jews were witnesses of the true Christian faith; their very existence was proof of the Gospels and their abasement proof of the triumph of Christianity…Therefore, though the Jews might be oppressed, they must not be exterminated–another example of the strange paradox of tolerance and hatred which has always characterized Christian ambivalence towards Judaism. [3]

This explains the ambivalence of the Church; on the one hand they were promoting a doctrine of intolerance, but at the same time they were placing limits to the manifestation of this intolerance, stopping short of wholesale slaughter.

Spencer, you said:

Historian and Rabbi David Dalin says this: “The historical fact is that popes have often spoken out in defense of the Jews, have protected them during times of persecution and pogroms, and have protected their right to worship freely in their synagogues. Popes have traditionally defended Jews from wild anti-Semitic allegations. Popes regularly condemned anti-Semites who sought to incite violence against Jews.”

This is consistent with what I have said earlier.  It is true that the papacy often stepped in to prevent wanton violence against Jews (such as massacres and forced conversions or baptisms), because–loyal to the doctrine of Witness–they wished the Jews to survive so that they might remain as perpetual serfs.

Professor Mark R. Cohen of Princeton University writes:

In his writings, Augustine articulated the doctrine of “witness,” which, over the centuries, served to justify the preservation of the Jews within Christendom…The Augustinian doctrine of witness, with its pragmatic rationale for accepting Judaism within Christendom, may have restrained Christian intolerance; but it could not efface a fundamental and potentially dangerous ambivalence in early Christianity regarding the other…

Inevitably, Jewry law appeared in pronouncements by the Catholic church…In keeping with both Augustinian doctrine and the protections guaranteed in the bull Sicut Judeis, throughout the Middle Ages the papacy maintained staunch and fairly consistent opposition to forced conversion of the Jews as well as to unwarranted physical brutality toward them.  Indeed, from time to time, a Pope might even add a clause to the “Constitutio pro Judeis” defending the Jews against some new, current threat.  For example, in 1247, Innocent IV reissued his own version of the bull within a year of the first promulgation, adding a section denouncing the newly risen blood libel.

I do not mean to imply that the papacy went out of its way to nurture Jewish life among Christians.  Quite the contrary, during the eleventh, twelfth, and especially the thirteenth centuries, as the papacy struggled to assert its supremacy over secular rulers, it also asserted its authority of the Jews.  This was done by inculcating the complementary ideas of Jewish subservience and inferiority.  Beginning with Pope Innocent III, in 1205, the idea of subservience was expressed in the revival of an old patristic doctrine about the “perpetual servitude” of the Jews, which gave ideological ballast to Innocent’s newly intensified campaign to segregate and subjugate the Jews. [4]

Spencer, you then said:

This is not, as some might think, a strictly modern phenomenon. For instance, Pope Gregory I, who wrote harshly of the Jews’ rejection of Christ, nevertheless issued an edict dictating that Jews “should have no infringement of their rights. … We forbid to vilify the Jews. We allow them to live as Romans and to have full authority over their possessions.” When a bishop in Palermo seized a synagogue and converted it into a church, the building could not be returned to its former owner because it had now been consecrated; however, Gregory ordered the bishop to pay the owners a fair price, so that the Jews “should in no way appear to be oppressed, or to suffer an injustice.” He also forbade forced conversion of Jews, a prohibition later repeated by Gregory IV.

Pope Gregory I’s directives formed the basis of the Jews’ status in Western Europe for a considerable time thereafter.

Indeed, it did.  I completely agree with you Spencer that Pope Gregory I’s directives “formed the basis of the Jews’ status in Western Europe for a considerable time thereafter.”  But again, you are only showing one side of the coin, not the other.  As I quoted above:

The official attitude of the Church had been defined by Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) in his Constitutio pro Judeis, wherein he established the principles protecting the religious practices of the Jews within the strict limits of the Law.  The thirteenth century Popes reaffirmed the principles of Gregory I but emphasized the more hostile aspects of his pronouncements…Though the Jews might be oppressed, they must not be exterminated–another example of the strange paradox of tolerance and hatred which has always characterized Christian ambivalence towards Judaism. [5]

Spencer, you then said:

Pope Alexander II commended bishops in Narbonne and Spain for protecting Jews from attacks by Christians. When would-be Crusaders massacred Jews in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, and elsewhere before the First Crusade, it is noteworthy that local bishops often acted to end these slaughters.

Yes, Pope Alexander II stepped in to prevent the wholesale slaughter of Jews by Crusaders.  But you didn’t tell us why.  The reason was, in the words of Pope Alexander II himself, that the Jews–unlike the Muslims–were willing to be the perpetual serfs of the Christians, and thus ought to be tolerated:

[A] Papal pronouncement mentioning Jewish servitude was issued by Alexander II in the middle of the eleventh century…In a letter to the archbishop of Narbonne, the local viscount and the bishops of Spain, Alexander II praised them for protecting the Jews from persecution by knights setting out for war in Spain.  He [Alexander II] wrote:

“…the case of Jews and Moslems is certainly different.  For one may justly fight those who persecuted Christians and drive them from their towns and habituation.  They [the Jews], however, are willing to serve Christians everywhere.”

Alexander II used the service of the Jews as a reason to justify their protection–even though his wording was derived from the pejorative language commonly employed in relation to Jews and Judaism.  The entire phrase was incorporated by Gratian into canon law…

Theologians in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries undermined the civil status of the Jews in both theory and practice.  They made outright statements to this effect, and increased the restrictions on the Jews.  Councils of the Church naturally fell in step, and sometimes used even stronger language [against Jews].  Bernard of Clairvaux, in a letter warning crusaders not to kill Jews, also referred to the punishment the Jews were receiving [i.e. perpetual servitude] for their crime [of killing Jesus].  On another occasion, he stated: ‘There is no more dishonourable or serious serfdom than that of the Jews.  They carry it with them wherever they go, and everywhere they find their masters.’ This view was shared by Rupert of Deutz, Thomas Aquinas and other theologians.  Thomas, among others, drew practical conclusions from the theological argument: ’since by law[!], Jews were subject to perpetual servitude, thus the rulers of the land may receive their property as if it were theirs [the rulers’s]‘ and, since the Jews were the servi of the Church, the Church could dispose of their property. [6]

Spencer you go on to say:

Pope Calixtus II thereafter reaffirmed Gregory’s prohibition of attacks on Jews, and also forbade forced conversion and attacks on synagogues.

Pope Calixtus II had a similar view to Alexander II, in that he goaded Christians to fight the Muslim infidels instead of killing Jews.  (If I were Spencer and this was about Muslims, I would ask: why did Christians have this bloodthirsty desire to slaughter Jews instead of fighting on the front against the enemy?  As I mentioned in my rebuttal, some 100,000 European Jews were slaughtered by the Crusaders. [7]) Again, the entire issue revolved around the Islamic intransigence and the (supposed) Jewish willingness to accept subjugation.  Even though he did protect the Jews from wholesale slaughter, Calixtus II reinforced the Church’s possessory control over Jews:

It is not surprising, then, that Innocent III and his thirteenth-century successors began playing up the theme of Jewish serfdom in an unprecedented fashion.  The very Constitutio pro Judaeis, first hesitantly enacted by Calixtus II, became an instrument in the hands of his powerful successors for the reassertion of the Papacy’s ultimate control over Jews.  This is why Innocent III, anything but a friend of Jews, considered it his duty to renew that bull on September 15, 1199, within a year after his ascendancy to the see of Saint Peter…The phrasing, quos propria culpa submisit perpetue servituti and sub timore servili became a standard usage in the vocabulary of later popes and canon jurists. [8]

Spencer, you then said:

The popes also held fast against forced conversions and attacks on the Jews. Pope Innocent III, although he condemned Jews as “the sons of the crucifiers, against whom to this day the blood cries to the Father’s ears,” stated: “For we make the law that no Christian compel them, unwilling or refusing, by violence to come to baptism. Too, no Christian ought to presume…wickedly to injure their persons, or with violence to take away their property…”

I almost agree with you Spencer when you say that the papacy “held fast against forced conversions and attacks on the Jews.”  Generally (though not always), that part is true.  However, what you fail to mention is that the papacy argued that although the Jews ought not to be subjected to wanton physical violence (such as “forced conversions and attacks”), they also held that the Jews were to be perpetual serfs; in fact, the only reason the papacy forbade the former was so that the Jews may endure as the latter!  Spencer, you used the example of Pope Innocent III above as a proof that the popes forbade wanton physical violence against Jews.  But Pope Innocent III said all the above because he adhered to the doctrine of Witness (and the belief of Perpetual Servitude); here’s what you didn’t quote from the words of Innocent III:

Crucifiers of Christ [the Jews] ought to be held in continual subjection. [9]

Pope Innocent III relegated the Jews to a status of perpetual servitude, saying:

Christian piety accepts and sustains living with Jews who, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they crucified the Lord. [10]

And Innocent III said further:

…The Jews, as servants rejected by that Savior Whose death they wickedly contrived, should recognize themselves in fact and in creed the servants of those whom the death of Christ has set free, even as it has rendered them bondmen. [11]

In complete consistency with the doctrine of Witness–and of Perpetual Servitude–Pope Innocent III likened the Jews to Cain, who would not be killed but rather live an existence worse than death, one of shame and misery; Innocent III opined:

The Lord made Cain a wanderer and a fugitive over the earth, but set a mark upon him, making his head to shake, lest anyone finding him should slay him.  Thus the Jews, against whom the blood of Christ calls out, although they ought not to be wiped out, nevertheless, as wanderers they must remain upon the earth until their faces are filled with shame and they seek the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. [12]

So yes, the papacy protected the Jews from annihilation.  (Spencer, if this had been about Muslims, you would have said something nasty like “Muslim mobs had a propensity to annihilate the Jews.” )  The reason for the papal protection was so that the Jews may live in perpetual servitude as a proof of the victory of Christianity over the Jewish serfs.

Spencer, you go on to say:

According to Dalin, “Calixtus’s defense of the Jews, with its promise of continuing papal protection, was reissued at least twenty-two times by successive popes between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.”

Yes, it was–invariably along with the doctrine of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude.  In fact, “papal protection” was in the form of papal possession.

Spencer, you say:

Pope Innocent IV issued a strong denial of the blood libel

Yes, and he also ordered the King to burn the Talmud, leading to the burning of twelve thousand Jewish religious books, which the Jews would call a religious “catastrophe”. [13] Pope Innocent IV decreed:

[I order] that you [the King] order both the aforesaid abusive books [Talmud]…to be burned by fire wherever they can be found throughout your entire kingdom. [14]

And again, he was a strong proponent of the doctrine of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude; Pope Innocent IV decreed:

The Jews…[have] been punished by the Lord to be slaves as it were, for whose death they sinfully plotted, they shall recognize themselves, as a result of this act, as slaves of those whom the death of Christ set free, and made them slaves. [15]

Spencer, the rest of your post is along the same vein.  You simply cherry picked the good things the popes did, and highlighted those, ignoring all the “evil” they did.  So for instance, if a pope opposed the ritual murder libel (which many did), then you would make sure to mention that, without also discussing how the same pope burned tens of thousands of copies of the Talmud.  If a pope overturned a ban on the Talmud, you would make mention of this, but not mention that the same pope only permitted heavily censored versions of the Talmud to be read.  And so on and so forth.

It is of course a game that you easily play because most of your receptive right-wing audience is ignorant, and unable to see the other side of the coin.  The reality, however, is that the papacy had both a protectionist and intolerant role to play in the treatment of the Jews.  The Jews were protected from wanton physical violence and loss of life, but at the same time severely restricted and forced into perpetual servitude.  The Augustinian doctrine of Witness–and its corollary of Perpetual Servitude–was the papacy’s general attitude towards Jews. To give just a few more examples…

Pope Pius V declared:

We order that, within 90 days, all Jews in our entire earthly realm of justice–in all towns, districts, and places–must depart these regions…their property [to be] confiscated and handed over to the Siscus, and they shall become slaves of the Roman Church, live in perpetual servitude and the Roman Church will have the same rights over them as the remaining [worldly] lords [have] over slaves and property. [16]

Pope Alexander III opined:

Jews ought to be slaves to Christians. [17]

Pope Gregory IX decreed:

We order all our brother bishops absolutely to suppress the blasphemy of Jews in your dioceses, churches, and communities, so that they do not dare raise their necks, bent under eternal slavery, to revile the Redeemer. [18]

And he said further:

They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt.  See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future become insolent, but that they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin in servile fear. [19]

Pope Innocent III declared:

It is absurd and improper that Jews–whose own guilt has consigned them to perpetual servitude–under the pretext that Christian piety receives them and tolerates their presence should be ingrates [adeo sint ingrati] to Christians, so that they attempt to exchange the servitude they owe to Christians for dominion over them. [20]

Pope Benedict XIV observed:

It is fitting for Jews to serve Christians…The Jews, as slaves rejected by that Saviour Whose death they wickedly contrived, should recognize themselves in fact and in creed the slaves of those whom the death of Christ has set free, even as it has rendered them bondmen. [21]

Keep in mind that Benedict XIV was one of the many popes who condemned the blood libel; yet, at the same time, he was an adherent of the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude.  It is in fact his very loyalty to this doctrine which caused him to prevent the blood libel massacres.  Again, there was a protectionist aspect coupled with great intolerance–all of which typified the Church’s ambivalent attitude towards Jews.

The Church’s doctrine was a seemingly intolerant policy, but in Christian Europe–where Jews lived in a “veritable hell” [22]–it did afford Jews protection from the antagonistic Christian masses.  It should be noted that the papacy often did seek to prevent physical assault on the Jews, but even this was marked by recurrent lapses, and Jews were often expelled at the behest of none other than the pope.  Yet, we ought to be fair and speak in generalities–unlike our opponents who take exceptional cases and posit them as the norm–so we must say that the papacy generally operated to preserve the lives of Jews in order that they serve as perpetual serfs:

The repeated mention of Jewish servitude in papal pronouncements lost none of its pungency; when applied to practical affairs, it lost none of its efficacy…[and] pointedly underscored the…perfidy of the Jews, who were condemned to perpetual slavery (perpetua servitute) because they called upon themselves and upon their children the blood of Christ…the Jews’ own sin subjected them to perpetual servitude, and they should suffer the shame of their sin in servile fear (sub timore servili)…In 1263 Urban IV…consigned both Jews and Moslems to ‘perpetual servitude.’…The servitus of the Jews was repeated by popes and other churchmen. [23]

Spencer, going back to your original reply, let me now deal with what you said here:

In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews. This is in sharp contrast to the laws of dhimmitude that are taught by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

It is important here to understand what you mean by the word “persecution.”  If by it you mean discrimination, humiliation, and the like, then in that case the papacy did not at all oppose that.  In fact, they consistently supported the reduction of Jews to a status of perpetual servitude.  But if by “persecution” you mean physical violence (massacres, forced conversions, expulsions, etc.), then in that case it cannot at all be said that the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence condone that.  In fact, the dhimma pact granted the dhimmis protection from such persecution.  So quite the contrary, all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence forbid such persecution, to such an extent that Muslims were obligated to fight to defend the dhimmis should they come under attack.

Therefore, no matter which way we interpret your argument, it is weak.  If you use the former definition of the word “persecution” then in that case the papacy reduced the infidels to a far worse state of degradation than the Islamic clerics ever did–for it was the difference between perpetual servitude/slavery on the one hand and free (albeit second-class) citizenship on the other.  But if you rely on the second definition of “persecution,” in that case it is simply an inaccurate statement, for even the discriminatory Pact of Umar strictly forbade any persecution (i.e. physical violence) against infidels.

Furthermore, it is altogether curious how you first say that “the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews,” but when sheik yer’mami questioned your statement, you responded by saying “the papal record is not monochromatic” and even listed some of the “bad news.”  Well, which is it?  Do you see how you have contradicted yourself here?

In any case, it is debatable whether or not the papacy was consistent in its prevention of persecution–by either definition.  Yes, the papacy generally reigned in on wanton physical violence, but not always.  Indeed, there were numerous instances in which the Church took part in the expulsion of the Jews. But if we expand our definition of persecution to discrimination (as you seem to do when talking about the realm of Islam), then there is no question at all about the matter: the papacy surpassed the Muslim discrimination by far.

Lastly, it is important to note here that it would be inappropriate to exclusively focus on the papacy, as you have done.  Rather, we must look at the Church overall and the realm of Christianity in general.  The clergy underneath the papacy were generally far more intolerant.  Indeed, when the papacy did step in to prevent wholesale slaughter of Jews, it was often the clergy who were involved in the persecution.  Why should you exclude this from our analysis, Spencer?  The reality is that the actions of the clergy in general–not just the popes–had significant impact on the Jews.  When we take into consideration the fact that the intolerant papacy was the better of the two, one can begin to imagine the plight of the Jews under the even more intolerant clergy.

Moving on, you conclude:

And most importantly, no church is behaving in such ways as are described in this article today, but Islamic jihadists in Gaza and elsewhere have declared their intention to reimpose the dhimma on Jews and Christians when they are able to do so.

Spencer, did I not explicitly say in my rebuttal that I will address the first two points in a follow-up article?  My rebuttal was simply of your third point.  We can debate about the first two points after I churn out my follow up article (which I guarantee will not disappoint).  But until then, let’s focus on the third point instead of trying desperately to move the goalposts.

You made the explicit claim in your book that Jews fared better in Christendom than in the Islamic world, and your implicit argument was that it was a monumental difference between the two, in that one was freedom and dignity loving and the other discriminatory and persecuting.  The reality is that your entire claim is false.

Is it any wonder that your reply did not deal with the actual point I refuted at all?  The reason you were forced to move the goalposts is obvious: you have no leg to stand on.  The entire premise of your line of attack was this made up idea that history was characterized by an evil Islamic menace that terrorized the Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims. My rebuttal deflated your entire cartoonish paradigm, because it rightly pointed out that the Judeo-Christian tradition that you so champion has been–to use your words and your standards–more “evil”.  When this fact becomes known, that mighty stick you use to beat Muslims over the head with–that dishonest weaponization of history–becomes as useless a blunt object as the daintiest of feathers.

All you ever do is cherry pick the absolute worst examples from Islam and compare them with the cherry picked best examples from Christianity, and then draw erroneous conclusions from this unequal comparison.  This sort of selective and shoddy scholarship typifies your entire ideological camp, and epitomizes your modus operandi.  And it is for this very reason that refuting your book will be ever so easy for me, because I will continue to expose your hypocrisy and absurd double standards.  With regard to this particular issue, if you repeatedly harp on dhimmitude, we will remind you of perpetual servitude, in order that your xenophobia be thwarted.

Perhaps it be that when your own religion and religious community is held to the same absurd standard that you set for Islam and Muslims [24] you might realize the error in your ways.  It is my sincere hope that you reflect on your behavior, and correct yourself.  Robert, I call on you to eschew xenophobia and fear-mongering, opting instead for tolerance and cautious optimism. Do you really want hate to be the sum total of your life’s work?  It is not too late to set your course aright.

Sincerely,
Danios.

Summary:

1. Robert Spencer’s hypothesis is that the Jews were historically (far) better off in the Christian world than the Islamic one. He is wrong about this. Nothing in his counter-reply to my rebuttal addresses this point, making his entire reply extraneous.

2. He claims that the Church never had a doctrine regarding these matters.  He is wrong.  The Church had the doctrine of Witness, and of Perpetual Servitude, as enunciated by the papacy repeatedly.

3. Spencer claims that such discriminatory policies were never applied universally, nor based in Church law.  He is wrong on both counts.  The discriminatory laws were applied almost universally throughout Christendom and were widespread, often originating from the Church’s direct and indirect influence.

4. He claims that the papacy consistently acted to prevent the persecution of Jews.  He is wrong.  Spencer’s own follow up comment directed to sheik yer’mami refutes his claim!  (It’s tough to stay consistent when you have no fidelity to facts.)  Second, the papacy was involved in the expulsion of Jews on numerous occasions, something which by all definitions would be considered persecution, and therefore negates the idea that the papacy was very consistent.

5.  Yes, the papacy did frequently step in to prevent the wholesale slaughter of Jews (from none other than Christians–which Spencer seems to think doesn’t count in our analysis of the Christian and Islamic realms), but it was in order to preserve the Jews as perpetual serfs.

6. Spencer claims that all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence advocate persecution of dhimmis.  He is wrong.  None of them do.  Physical violence, forced conversions, and expulsions against dhimmis were not permitted–which is what the papacy would often reign in on, so we must assume that this is what Robert Spencer is referring to, due to his usage of the words “this is in sharp contrast to…”

7. His last point about Gaza is a red herring designed to move the goalposts.  Spencer’s hypothesis–which I refuted–had nothing to do with the situation nowadays.  I simply refuted his argument that Jews were historically treated worse in the Islamic world than in Christendom.  The situation in Gaza today does not prove or disprove the hypothesis.  I have promised to debate this ancillary topic in a future article, but it has no relevance to Spencer’s hypothesis above.  Even if I concede that Muslims today want to reimpose the dhimmitude (which I do not), this would not prove Spencer’s hypothesis that Jews were historically treated better in Christendom than in the Islamic world.

Update: Click here to read my refutation of Cassidy, a frequent visitor to our site.

Footnotes

refer back to article 1. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, 47. ISBN 0-89526-013-1

refer back to article 2. Ibid., 59

refer back to article 3. Rudolph M. Lowenstein, Christians and Jews: A Psychoanalytic Study, 97-98. ISBN 140675868X, 9781406758689

refer back to article 4. Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: Jews in the Middle Ages, 20-38. ISBN 069101082X, 9780691010823

refer back to article 5. Rudolph M. Lowenstein, Christians and Jews: A Psychoanalytic Study, 97-98. ISBN 140675868X, 9781406758689

refer back to article 6. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, 98. ISBN 0888441096, 9780888441096

refer back to article 7. David H. Solomon, A History of My Family, 8

refer back to article 8. Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 137-138. ISBN 0231088469, 9780231088466

refer back to article 9. Innocent III, Epistle to the Hierarchy of France, 7/15/1205, PL 215

refer back to article 10. Norman Roth, Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia, 131. ISBN 0415937124, 9780415937122

refer back to article 11. Nathan Zuckerman, The Wine of Violence: An Anthology on Anti-Semitism. Association Press, 1947. 138

refer back to article 12. Innocent III, Epistle to the Count of Nevers

refer back to article 13. Isaac Unterman, The Talmud: An Analytical Guide to its History and Teachings, 260

refer back to article 14. Lynn Thorndike, University Records and Life in the Middle Ages. Columbia University Press, 1949. 50

refer back to article 15. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, 100

refer back to article 16. Pius V, Hebraeorum Gens

refer back to article 17. Third Lateran Ecumenical Council, Canon 26

refer back to article 18. Maurice Pinay, The Plot against the Church. St. Anthony Press, 1967. 651

refer back to article 19. Gregory IX, Epistle to the Hierarchy of Germany

refer back to article 20. Magda Teter, Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland, 16. ISBN 0521856736, 9780521856737

refer back to article 21. Quoting Pope Innocent III, Etsi Judaeos

refer back to article 22. Nissim Rejwan, Israel’s Place in the Middle East: A Pluralistic Perspective, 47. ISBN 0813016010, 9780813016016

refer back to article 23. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, 100-101

refer back to article 24. It is important here to note that I am not at all trying to bash Christianity, Catholicism, or even the papacy. I understand that times were different back then and that the papacy was not “monochromatic”. Furthermore, I certainly do not wish to weaponize history; it would be despicable to use Christian history as a stick to beat Christians over the head with. But detailing Christian history in order to counter the bigotry of some Christian Islamophobes–to bring them to their senses–is a powerful means of exposing the horrific double standards that are at play.

Update

A frequent visitor to our site, Cassidy, tried desperately to respond to my rebuttal, as follows:

Actually Jews in Ireland, Scotland and Wales were treated better than Jews in the Islamic world; Ireland only had one violent incident of anti-semitism in it’s history, the limerick pogrom which took place in the 20th century and was widely criticized outside of limerick. Scotland also provided a sanctuary for Jews fleeing England, here’s a quote from the Scottish declaration of  Arbroath:

“there is neither bias nor difference between Jew or Greek, Scot or English”

My response is as follows:

Not only is everything Cassidy said incorrect, but it is not even in the same ballpark as reality.  Cassidy wrote:

Actually Jews in Ireland, Scotland and Wales were treated better than Jews in the Islamic worlds

1. Ireland:

No record of or reference to Jewish life in Ireland exists up until the eleventh century.  The first mention we have of Jews in the region is in 1079, when five Jews migrated to Ireland, only to be turned back.  Five Jews in Ireland were considered five too many, and a ban on Jewish residency was established:

‘Five Jews’ we read ‘came from over sea with gifts to Toirdelbach, and they were sent back again over the sea’. [25]

Historians lose any reference to Irish Jews for about another century.  In 1174, Jews are afforded the right to exist in Ireland, but only as the property of the King–the familiar theme of Serfs of the Royal Chamber (refer to my rebuttal), the Christian state’s corollary to the Church’s Perpetual Servitude.  In 1290, Jews are expelled from Ireland, and do not return for hundreds of years…until about 1665.  (You’re really making this argument right, Cassidy?)

Upon their return to Ireland, Jews faced severe discrimination, and legislation proposing citizenship for Jews was roundly defeated in 1743.  Irish Jews, like their coreligionists in the rest of Christian Europe, were forbidden from entering guilds–a crushing occupational and financial burden that explains why Jews of Europe had it so much worse than their counterparts in Islamdom (refer here).

In the 1890’s and early 1900’s, antisemitism made a resurgence, resulting in a boycott of Jews and culminating in the Lemirick pogrom which you mention.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, antisemitism reached a fever pitch due to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy.  In the 1940’s, thousands of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany were denied refuge in Ireland.  In the 1960’s, a Jewish synagogue–one of only four in Ireland–was burned down to the ground…It burned to the ground just like Cassidy’s argument that Irish Jews fared better than the Jews of Islam.

We read:

The earliest evidence of Jewish settlement in Ireland is a grant made in 1232 to a certain Peter de Rivall, giving him “custody of the King’s Jews in Ireland.”  In 1290, Irish Jews, like their English brethren, were expelled from Ireland and did not return until around 1655. [26]

And:

Although officially refused residency in 1079, a number of Jews immigrated to Ireland after the Anglo-Norman invasion…The Irish Jews were expelled along with the English Jews in 1290, and with the exception of a few Spanish conversos [Jewish converts to Christianity], there were no Jews in Ireland until the Cromwellian Settlement [during the mid-seventeenth century]…Jews, along with Catholics, were excluded from the guilds in the eighteenth century: Legislation offering Jews citizenship was defeated in 1743…

In the 1890s, there were anti-Jewish demonstrations in Dublin and Cork and a major anti-Jewish boycott and attack in Limerick in 1904.  This mirrored an increase in anti-Semitism…Throughout the 1920s and 1930s…[there was] virulent anti-Semitism premised on the Protocols…During the Holocaust, thousands of entry requests were denied on economic and anti-Semitic grounds.  After the war, a few Jews were admitted. In the 1960s, a Dublin synagogue was set on fire.  To describe modern alienation and exile, James Joyce made the protagonist of his masterpiece Ulysses (1922) a Jew. [27]

And:

Jews are first mentioned as resident in Ireland in eleventh-century documents; Henry II acknowledged their presence (and legitimated it) by assigning custody of the King’s Judaism in Ireland to one of his lords in 1174.  From the time of the Norman Conquest the King’s Judaism meant that the Jews were literally the king’s chattel…Jews were expelled from Ireland, as from England, in 1290 and were resettled in both countries under Cromwell in the mid-seventeenth century. [28]

2. Wales:

Perhaps one of the reasons Cassidy mentions Wales is because there were no Jewish communities in the region up until the eighteenth century, a fact which of course reveals her ignorance on the subject.  Yes, the Jews were treated wonderfully because they did not exist!  (Actually Jews were denied residence.)  Nonetheless, there may have been a few Jews here and there, who were then expelled in 1290:

Jews were expelled from Wales in 1290 with the rest of the Jews in Britain, but in the eighteenth century they began to return. Prior to the Expulsion, there were individual Jews living in places like Caerleon and Chepstow, but Wales was not a hospitable place for Jews, and regions of the country were legally permitted to deny Jews residence. [29]

Subsequently, there is no historical record of any Jewish existence in Wales up until 1665.  The first Jewish community in Wales came into existence as late as the eighteenth century!

3. Scotland

Similarly, “the first reference to a Jewish settler in Scotland is on 1st September, 1665.” [30] The Jewish immigrants faced anti-Jewry laws, as Scotland was under the jurisdiction of the British.  Admittedly, the Scottish Jews faced far less discrimination than their counterparts in the rest of Europe.  For example, they were not barred from universities as in other Christian nations: in 1787, the first Jewish graduate from Glasgow University matriculated, and the first Scottish Jew entered the field of medicine.  [31] (Jews in the Islamic world had always been able to attend university, and had long since excelled in the field of medicine.)

Scottish historian David Daiches argued that Scotland was the only European country in which there was no state persecution of the Jews. [32] At first, this statement would seem to support Cassidy’s stance–yet in reality it is a damning statement of Christendom’s treatment of Jews.  In other words, there was only one small sliver of land–no more than 32,000 square miles–in which Jews were not persecuted by the Christian state…And that too only after the 1700’s when Jewish communities emerged in the area.  To further illustrate the complete absurdity of such a comparison, it is interesting to note that–according to a 2001 census–there are only 6,400 Jews in Scotland…as if the treatment of a handful of Jews can offset the way the great majority of them were treated in Christendom!

Cassidy’s approach typifies the Islamophobic mindset, as I already discussed in my reply to Robert Spencer above:

All you ever do is cherry pick the absolute worst examples from Islam and compare them with the cherry picked best examples from Christianity, and then draw erroneous conclusions from this unequal comparison.  This sort of selective and shoddy scholarship typifies your entire ideological camp, and epitomizes your modus operandi.

Robert Spencer’s argument was that the Jews of Europe were treated better than the Jews of the Islamic world.  Clearly then, we should compare the overall treatment of Jews in all of Christendom, with that of the general treatment of Jews in all of Islamdom.  Instead, Cassidy is trying to foist upon us this unfair comparison, taking the absolute best of Christian Europe and comparing it with that of the absolute worst–or even the average–situation in the realm of Islam.

Even if I were to concede that Irish Jews were treated better than their counterparts in the Islamic world (which I do not!), this would not at all prove Spencer’s claim that the Jews were treated better in Christendom than in the Islamic East, because an exception to the rule (which Scotland clearly was!) can hardly be used in a just comparison.  If Cassidy wants to use the absolute best case scenario under Christendom, then she ought to compare it to the best case scenario in the realm of Islam.  Certainly there were times during Islamic history in which the dhimmis flourished, with little discrimination.

Instead, it is as if the Islamophobes seek to compare the Almohad tyranny with that of the best situation in the realm of Christianity!  This is of course quite typical of their entire approach.  Furthermore, even if I concede that the Jews of Scotland were treated better than the Jews of Islam (which I do not!), then I could argue back that the Jews of Islam were treated better than all of the rest of Europe other than a few thousand Jews on a small sliver of land in a remote corner of the continent!  If perpetual servitude was the miserable lot of Jews throughout all of Europe but a tiny area, what then would be the efficacy of the anti-Muslim battle cry of “dhimmitude”?

In any case, Cassidy would have to prove that the Jews of Scotland were treated better than the Jews of Islam by providing a citation from a reliable academic/historian/expert, as I have done.  I will not simply take her word for it, considering how unbelievably off the mark she was about Ireland and Wales!

Cassidy wrote:

Scotland also provided a sanctuary for Jews fleeing England, here’s a quote from the Scottish declaration of  Arbroath:

“there is neither bias nor difference between Jew or Greek, Scot or English”

This is a deceptive argument, which relies on the reader’s ignorance of said document.  Historians consider the Document of Arboath to have been “royal propaganda.”  It was simply a letter written to the pope to convince him of Scottish independence.  As such, it cannot be used as a reliable indication of what the actual situation was in Scotland:

The unanimity implied by the Declaration of Arbroath was much more apparent than real…The Declaration was primarily a piece of propaganda, directed at an audience both within and outside Scotland. [33]

And:

Such language is dramatic and inspiring but should be read in its context…The letter of the barons was, like these documents, a piece of royal propaganda, presenting a case to the curia. [34]

In any case, I am not denying that the Jews of Scotland fared relatively well as compared to their coreligionists in the rest of Europe.  I have already addressed this point above.

To conclude: Cassidy attempted (futilely)  to find a way to overcome my rebuttal, but was unable to.  Her claims–that Jews were treated better in Ireland and Wales as compared to the Islamic world–are comically incorrect.  As for Scotland, she has no proof to verify her claim; furthermore, the condition of a few thousand Jews in Scotland–who only lived there since the eighteenth century–is hardly relevant to a discussion of the historical treatment of Jews in the Middle Ages. As for the treatment of minorities in the modern day, that is an issue I have promised to tackle in a follow-up article.

SECOND UPDATE: First things first, Cassidy is a male, so I apologize for mixing that up in my response above. Secondly, he has conceded the debate, saying: “I admit I was wrong about Ireland, Scotland and Wales.” Well, thank you for your honesty and courage to admit fault.  Cheers.

Footnotes

refer back to article 25. Aubrey Gwynn, The Irish Church in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. 383. ISBN 1851820957, 9781851820955

refer back to article 26. Mordecai Schreiber, The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia, 126. ISBN 0520253973, 9780520253971

refer back to article 27. Lelia Ruckenstein, Everything Irish: The History, Literature, Art, Music, People, and Places of Ireland, From A-Z, 211. ISBN 034544129X, 9780345441294

refer back to article 28. Don Gifford, Ulyesses Annotated: Notes from James Joyce’s Ulysses, 40. ISBN 0520253973, 9780520253971

refer back to article 29. Toni Kamins, The Complete Jewish Guide to Britain and Ireland, 107-108. ISBN 0312244487, 9780312244484

refer back to article 30. The Jewish Quarterly, V. 3-5. Jewish Literary Trust, 1972. 30

refer back to article 31. Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Scotland.html

refer back to article 32. David Daiches, Two worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood. Canongate, 1987. ISBN 0862411483, 9780862411480

refer back to article 33. Andrew D.M. Barrell, Medieval Scotland, 122. ISBN 052158602X, 9780521586023

refer back to article 34. Michael Brown, The Wars of Scotland, 218. ISBN 0748612386, 9780748612383

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  • Cassidy

    “So even in their so-called collaboration with the Nazis, Bosnian Muslims fought a just war against nationalist genocidal forces.”

    Apart from the fact that you’re sticking up for Nazis, the idea that the Handzar division never touched civilians couldn’t anymore removed from reality.

    “The general Muslim sentiment, like the Palestinian Arabs who faught against the Nazis, was opposition to Nazism (the mufti was an exception and generally not heeded). ”

    What an amusing fairy tale! In reality pro-nazi sentiment was widespread throughout the middle east, examples include the young Egypt movement, Sayid Qutb, Abdel Nasser, Hassan al-Banna , General Aziz al-Misri, the Nazis hand in the creation of the muslim brotherhood. The mufti is the most prominent example but it’s a complete lie to say that he was an exception (since he received a hero’s welcome in Egypt and Arab Palestine). Fun fact: It was estimated by a secret report during the war that 90% of Egyptian intellectuals and government employees supported the Axis powers over the West.

    “Sympathy with the Axis powers were widespread among the common people of the Arab countries… these feelings permeated the majority of the population, while the leaders often cooperated directly with the Axis. Fascist and Nazi ideologies were not so much imitated as paralleled in the Arab world; they fitted into modes of thought already in being and were taken up by existing political clubs and associations.”
    -Mayor Robert Wagner

    How does it feel to be a nazi apologist? Do you hang out with David Irving very much?

  • Cassidy

    “More like anti-Arabism/Islamophobia.”

    So all the attacks on Jewish civilians by Muslims never happened?

    “Do you have proof for this? Visigoth civilisation as far as I’m aware cannot be called “advanced” by any stretch of the imagination.”

    Well let’s see Visigothic law gave women equality, Visigothic architecture still stands today, Visigothic art was highly advanced, given the facts it’s safe that the Visigoths definitely had an advanced culture.

    “As for the Muslim conquest of Spain in 711, this was a response to Jewish request and Jews supported the Muslim invaders. During the seventh century the Visigothic oppression of Jews escalated and the only options Jews were given were: baptism or exile – see: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jews-visigothic1.html

    Hahahahah! So you really believe that the brutal conquest of Spain took place because the Islamic invaders cared about the Jews? I really wish I could stop laughing.

    “Ibn Hazm a prominent Spanish Muslim of the eleventh century explicitly mentions the justification of Muslims’ invasion of Spain was the oppression of the Jews.”

    Not exactly a neutral source.

    “And you do not offer any evidence.”

    No evidence? Other than the blatant fact that Europe already had forms of science before islam came into existence?

    “There is also clear evidence of a rise in interest in Arabic science during the renaissance and all the way till the 18th century.”

    While it’s true that Renaissance men did read Arabic texts the Renaissance cannot be credited to islam since it would have happened anyway due to the sheer amount of texts preserved by monasteries and the Byzantine Empire, as I stated before Arabic science cannot be credited to islam.

    “All the forbears of Western scholasticism, Abelard and Scott etc, were trained in Muslim Spain.”

    Pure fiction, Abelard was taught by William of Champeaux.

    “Roger Bacon’s optics was borrowed almost completely from Alhazen.”

    You’re right but that cannot be credited to islam, it can however be credited to Alhazen’s genius. I don’t deny that there have been brilliant Muslims, however it’s a complete myth that Europe in the ‘dark ages’ was a barbaric hellhole.

    “This was only hampered in the 16th century when European civilisation enriched itself by robbing the New World and destroying the Native population of the Americas.”

    You like how the Muslim invaders robbed and destroyed Visigothic civilization?

  • Cassidy: “Second of all the claim that ‘the west got it’s knowho from islam’ is incorrect”

    And you do not offer any evidence. You simply reiterate old assumptions that recent scholarship has falsified. The early period of Islamic science was characterised by “appropriation” (AI Sabra’s term) of earlier civilisations’ sciences (i.e. Muslims did not simply passively recieve it, they actively appropriated it). And the later period was characterised by a more mature science that was “naturalised” into the very fabric of Islamic civilsation. As George Saliba, a specialist in the history of Islamic astronomy, wrote “Whether it was in mechanics, with the works of Jazari (1205); or in logic, mathematics and astronomy, with the works of Athir al-Din al-Abhari (c. 1240), Mu’ayyad al-Din al-Urdi (d. 1266), Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (d. 1274), Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi (d. 1311), Ibn al-Shatir (d. 1375), al-Qushji (d. 1474), and Shams al-Din al-Khafri (d. 1550); or in optics, with the works of Kamal al-Din al-Farisi (d. 1320); or in Pharmocology, with the works of Ibn al-Baitar (d. 1248); or in medicine, with the works of Ibn al-Nafis (d. 1288), every one of those fields witnessed a genuine original and revolutionary production” (Islamic Science and the Making of Renaissance Europe, 21).

    There is also clear evidence of a rise in interest in Arabic science during the renaissance and all the way till the 18th century. European “science” only really took off with Pope Sylvester’s interest in Islamic science. All the forbears of Western scholasticism, Abelard and Scott etc, were trained in Muslim Spain. Similarly Aquinas borrowed heavily from Avicenna, Ghazali and Averroes. Roger Bacon’s optics was borrowed almost completely from Alhazen. The movement it appears is clearly in the opposite direction (from the Muslim to the Western world). Copernicus certainly learned many of his mathematical and astronomical models from Muslim astronomers.

    This was only hampered in the 16th century when European civilisation enriched itself by robbing the New World and destroying the Native population of the Americas. This economic prosperity gave them an edge which eventually led to colonialism and ambitions of conquering the known world – pretty much destroying Muslim civilisation.

    Some historians you should read are: Dimitri Gutas, Donald Routledge Hill, George Saliba, AY al-Hassan, all mainstream historians of Islamic philosophy and science.

  • Cassidy: “take the Visigoths for example who had an advanced culture (influenced by the Romans) and a law system that gave women far more rights than islamic law and that’s just one example”

    Do you have proof for this? Visigoth civilisation as far as I’m aware cannot be called “advanced” by any stretch of the imagination. As for the Muslim conquest of Spain in 711, this was a response to Jewish request and Jews supported the Muslim invaders. During the seventh century the Visigothic oppression of Jews escalated and the only options Jews were given were: baptism or exile – see: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jews-visigothic1.html

    Ibn Hazm a prominent Spanish Muslim of the eleventh century explicitly mentions the justification of Muslims’ invasion of Spain was the oppression of the Jews.

  • Cassidy: “Bit of a stretch, not to mention during the 1930s anti-semitism exploded amongst muslims (ie attacks of Jews during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt)”

    More like anti-Arabism/Islamophobia. As noted in a Wikipedia article “Initially, Jewish immigration to Palestine met little opposition from the Palestinian Arabs. However, as anti-Semitism grew in Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jewish immigration (mostly from Europe) to Palestine began to increase markedly, creating much Arab resentment”. In fact Jewish immigration was initially supported by the Turkish government and some Palestinian Arabs. It was only after the steep rise that the Palestinians felt threatened (rightfully so – they don’t have a state now).

    The uprising in the late thirtees was violently squashed by the British and Jewish paramilitary (Haganah) and Jewish terrorist groups (Irgun) – many more Arabs died in the revolt than Jews. At this time, Palestinian Arabs did not engage in terrorism, it didn’t even cross their minds to commit such heinous acts – Jewish groups did engage in terrorism, and a few decades later the Arabs followed in their footsteps. The hard truth is anti-semitism in the Muslim world was because of the political circumstances shaping the Middle East during the early twentieth century, whereas anti-semitism is indigenous to Christian Europe (I wouldn’t go as far as Rosemary Radford Ruether who says anti-semitism is the “right hand of Christology”, but certainly a church-synagogue divide very early on led to such ugly anti-semitism as that of John Chrysostom and others – which was necessary though not sufficient for the Nazi Holocaust as said by Richard Rubenstein).

  • I want to respond to just one from the long string of Cassidy’s misrepresentations and lies:

    He wrote “many muslims fought for the Nazis, although six thousand Arabs did fight in the Palestine brigade that number’s dwarfed by the Handzar division alone”

    During the period of 1941-1945 nationalist Serbian zealots (Chetniks) killed approximately 10% of Muslim Bosnians (about 100,000 people). Himmler capitalised on this to encourage the Muslims to fight against Serbian communists in the North who threatened the Germans. To be sure Muslim religious leaders from Bosnia forbade Muslims from Croat-Nazi collaboration, and Muslim Bosnians were not involved in killing Jews; as Stephen Schwartz wrote “In Bosnia, the infamous Bosnian Waffen SS units played no role in the removal of Jews on their territory, which was carried out by Germans and Croats”. So even in their so-called collaboration with the Nazis, Bosnian Muslims fought a just war against nationalist genocidal forces.

    The general Muslim sentiment, like the Palestinian Arabs who faught against the Nazis, was opposition to Nazism (the mufti was an exception and generally not heeded). In fact the highest rate of Jewish survival in Europe was in Albania, and the lowest were in non-Muslim areas. For more on Muslim resistance to Nazism in both religious leadership and the army, see: http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/may_jun_09_shakir

    “Perhaps the greatest testimony to the Muslims who actively opposed fascism is the work of the Paris Mosque in protecting Jewish children from the Nazis, who were sending French Jews-men, women, and children-to perish in the death camps of Eastern Europe. The mosque itself was built by the French government in appreciation of the 500,000 Muslims who had fought for France during World War I, with 100,000 losing their lives in the trenches. It is estimated that the mosque helped to save over 1,700 Jewish children, by providing them with shelter, transit, and Muslim names. A pamphlet that circulated among Algerian Muslims in Paris at the onset of the Nazis’ campaign against the Jews in France stated:

    ‘Yesterday at dawn, the Jews of Paris were arrested. The old, the women, and the children. In exile like ourselves, workers like ourselves. They are our brothers. Their children are like our own children. The one who encounters one of his children must give that child shelter and protection for as long as misfortune-or sorrow-lasts. Oh, man of my country, your heart is generous.'”

    Senegalese, Algerian, Palestinian, Indian (now Pakistani), Turkish, Albanian, Moroccan Muslims all helped in the fight against Nazism and Nazi ideology.

  • Nabeela

    Cassidy

    ” the claim that ‘the west got it’s knowho from islam’ is incorrect (apart from the fact that Greek science flourished before islam even existed) since it’s actually the other way around since the Islamic world greatly benefited from the translation of Greek texts ”

    If you bother to read Islamic and Arab history books, we don’t deny that we TOOK the wisdom of the Greeks (and others) and EXPOUNDED upon it. Credit is given where it is due. We also made unique discoveries, that were directly related to our religion, in any case the accomplishments were far greater and more influential than anything that the Greeks discovered.

    It’s not the other way round, because it was the Quran and Islam itself that was the motivation behind the Arabs taking the Greek science and EXPOUNDING upon it. Before the dawn of Islam, others could could have, but they didn’t. Specific discoveries/inventions were directly related to the Islamic religon. SEe the Muslim Heritage site below it’s a UK educational site, used worldwide, and it also has an art spin off.

    “How Islam Created the Modern World,” written by award-winning author Mark
    Graham.
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Islam-Created-Modern-World/dp/1590080432/sr=8-1/qid=1157638890/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-0126589-7657723?ie=UTF8&s=books

    Product Description

    Their accomplishments were staggering, including the development of modern medicine, chemistry, and algebra. Muslim scientists correctly calculated the circumference of the globe in the tenth century. Muslim musicians introduced the guitar and musical notation to the Europe. And Muslim philosophers invented the scientific method and paved the way for the Enlightenment. At the dawn of the Renaissance, Christian Europe
    was wearing Persian clothes, singing Arab songs, reading Spanish Muslim
    philosophy and eating off Mamluk Turkish brassware. This is the story of how Muslims taught Europe to live well and think clearly. It is the story of how Islam created the Modern World.

    —————–

    How Islamic inventors changed the world
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article350594.ece

    Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and
    identifies the men of genius behind them
    Published: 11 March 2006
    —————–

    MuslimHeritage.com
    http://www.muslimheritage.com/
    Bringing life to Muslim Heritage
    Discover 1000 years of missing history and explore the fascinating Muslim contribution to present day Science, Technology, Arts and Civilisation.

    ———-
    1001 inventions
    Discover the Muslim Heritage in our World

    Learn about a lost age of Muslim innovation and invention!
    Discover the Muslim origins of many Western discoveries!

    Brought to you by the makers of http://www.MuslimHeritage.com, 1001 Inventions is a unique UK based educational project that reveals the rich heritage that the Muslim community share with other communities in the UK, Europe and across the World.

    1001 Inventions consists of a UK and world wide travelling exhibition, a colourful easy to read book, a dedicated website and a themed collection of educational posters complementing a secondary school teachers’ pack and a curriculum enrichment programme.

    Discover Muslim Heritage in our World in seven conveniently organised zones: home, school, market, hospital, town, world and universe.
    ————
    Inventions of the Islamic Golden Age
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inventions_of_the_Islamic_Golden_Age
    ————

    R. Briffault: The Making of Humanity.
    “The Miracle of Arabic science, using the word miracle as a symbol of our
    inability to explain achievements which were almost incredible…
    unparalleled in the history of the world.”

    “There is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive
    influence of Islamic civilization is not traceable”

    “It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civilisation
    would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them,
    it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend
    all previous phases of evolution.”
    ———
    George Sarton
    It was during the period of high Muslim apogee: 8th-13th centuries that most decisive scientific inventions were made, and the foundations of modern civilisation were laid, scientists and scientific discoveries in their thousands, artistic creativity, great architecture, huge libraries,
    hospitals, universities, mapping of the world, the discovery of the sky and
    its secrets, and much more.
    ————

    The noted French historian, Gustave Ie Bon, writes of the Arab contribution
    to Modern Europe:
    Observation, experimentation and inductive logic which form the
    fundamentals of modern knowledge are attributed to Roger Bacon but it needs
    to be acknowledged that this process of reasoning was entirely an Arab
    discovery.
    ———-
    H. G. Wells says in his book Milestones in Human History:
    “They advanced in medicine far beyond the Greeks, they studied science and
    the functions of various parts of the body, and preventative medicine. Many
    of the treatment methods that they used are still used by us until today.
    They used anaesthetics for their operations and they used to perform some of the most difficult surgeries that are known. “

    “Every religion that is not suited to civilization should be rejected. I
    have not found any religion that is suited to civilization except Islam. “

    ———

    Bertrand Russel in ‘History of Western Philosophy,’ London, 1948, p. 419.
    “From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of Islam flourished. What
    was lost to christendom at this time was not lost to civilization, but quite the contrary…”
    ————–

    Phillip Hitti in ‘Short History of the Arabs.’
    “For centuries, Arabic was the language of learning, culture and intellectual progress for the whole of the civilized world with the exception of the Far East. From the IXth to the XIIth century there were more philosophical, medical, historical, religiuos, astronomical and geographical works written in Arabic than in any other human tongue.”

    When Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C.,
    in June 1957, his 500-word talk effused good will (“Civilization owes to theIslamic world some of its most important tools and achievements”)

    ————–

    “and no Arab science cannot be credited to Islam, that would be as absurd as crediting Copernicus’ genius to Catholicism.”

    There are plenty of websites on the internet where you can learn more about the links between science and Islam and why/how Islam/Quran was the basis for the Islamic golden age. It has to be said that Atheist and non Muslim scientists have converted to Islam after themselves realising there was a link. Follow the links below, which in turn have many more, and make up your own mind.
    http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/index.php

    http://www.scienceandquran.com/

    The Bible, the Qur’an and Science
    http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Quran-Science-Scriptures-translated/dp/0935782494

  • Nabeela

    Cassidy

    “First of all it’s absurd to use Pipes as a source, y’know the same guy who was ‘elated’ by a fascist.”

    I don’t think you even read my response or you’d understand why I did use Pipes, NAMELY, THAT LIKE ROB SPENCER HE IS A NEO CON, AND JIHADWATCH QUOTES DANIEL PIPES ENDORSEMENT AT THEIR WEBSITE. If you read in other threads, I have said that Pipes knowledge of Islamic history is way better than Spencer, and Spencer endorses him. I can bring plenty other sources, I suggest you re-read the post. The sources quoted include other Jews too, Bernard Lewis, Norman Stillman, and others. It kind of makes Spencer say, “look, the Jews don’t know their history”, much like he says “the muslims don’t know their history” . I know better.
    In this case, Pipes is the best source to use, even though there are plenty of others. Let him debunk Pipes, his buddy whose endorsement he seems to cherish. He didn’t even try to honestly tackle the material that Danios wrote. He BLATANTLY DANCED AROUND THE ISSUE, and pretended that Danios was talking about intolerence. He wasn’t. Spencer didn’t address the simple point that he lied about, that Jews were better off under Christian rule than Muslim one. THAT was the point.

    “Quick question, if Muslims were totally unfamiliar with anti-Semitism prior to the Nazis why did so many ally themselves with the Nazis? “

    The Nazi’s made alliances with anyone they thought they could use to further their aims. But that wasn’t the point, allying yourself with a Nazi, doesn’t mean you have to have been an anti-semite.

    If you’re referring to the Mufti of Jerusalem, his antismeitism was driven by Zionism at the time and his motivation was to stop Zionists entering Palestine. In war unlikely alliances are made out of despair. Hitler was killing Jews, yet Jews were allied with him, and Zionists allied with Nazi’s at the expense of their own.

    The responsibility of the mainstream (Labor Zionist) Israeli leaders
    during the Holocaust.
    http://www.hirhome.com/israel/leaders4.htm

    51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration With the Nazis (Hardcover)
    by Lenni Brenner
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1569802351/102-3202813-0902510?v=glance&n=283155
    “This book presents 51 historic documents to indict Zionism for repeated attempts to collaborate with Adolf Hitler.

    “Wrong, they didn’t all agree on Christianity, it’s incorrect to act as if the founding fathers had their brains wired together.”

    Again, not the point. It wasn’t about whether they agreed on Chrisitnaity or not. The founding fathers were deists, atheists, Christians. It was about wanting the constitution separating state and religion. Unike in Europe.

    “Madison had a strong disdain for Christianity so quoting him on Christianity is like quoting Bobby Spencer about islam.”

    I didn’t quote him on Christianity, but thank you for confirming the point. It was a disdain for Christinaity that led the founding fathers to AGREE to separate state from religion regardless of their own beliefs. The point was the Christianity as a ruling religion doesn’t allow progress. It caps science on superstitious grounds, and has other anti learning dogma. The Christian Right for the last 8 years tried to take the USA back to where Europe was 300 years ago. That is proof for you.

    You are arguing just for the sake of arguing. You did not tackle the crux of the argument, namely that JEWS WERE BETTER UNDER ISLAM THAN CHRISTIANITY. What you do, is pick something totally unrelated and start a spin off topic.

    Cassidy, could you answer a simple “yes” or “no” to:-

    1. Do you agree with Spencer’s assertion that Jews were better off under Christian Rule?

    2. Do you agree that the founding fathers of the USA wanted to separate state from religion in the constitution?

  • pagan

    I want to know if the site below is a genuine one or not. Can we trust news coming from these people ? If what they are saying in the link below is right, then Catholics were running concentration camps murdering Jews during WW II.

    “During World War II, Pavelic Regime Offered Croatian Jews Conversion To Catholicism & Contributing Personal Property – In Return For Not Being Deported To Death Camp. However, IsraCast Has Uncovered Evidence That Even These Jews & Their Families Were Later Executed By Ustasha” –

    http://www.isracast.com/article.aspx?ID=544&t=Exclusive—CATHOLIC-COLLUSION-IN-CROATIA

  • Danios

    Cassidy/Barry:

    Please email me your address so I can send you your diploma. (Since you’ve been schooled so much here on this site, I thought it fitting for you to at least get a certificate for your efforts.)

    I’ve lost all respect for you. I need not reply to your nonsense drivel, considering that my initial reply to you was sufficient to shut you down. People can read my logical response and compare it to your tangential incoherence. Debating with you would be a never-ending process, since you’ll just keep going in circles.

    You debate in a schizophrenic manner, and are not man enough to admit that your argument was thoroughly refuted. I do not have any more time to waste on you. For those who want to know the truth of the matter, they can simply read my initial rebuttal of Robert Spencer, my counter-reply to Spencer, and finally my response to Cassidy.

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • Cassidy

    “Cassidy, first: sorry for referring to you in the feminine. I’ll fix that.”

    No worries.

    “Second: Are you Barry? You sound like him.”

    Yup.

    “Third: you said, “You did nothing of the kind.” Well, I posted your reply and responded. Will you be man enough to admit that you were taken to task?”

    Are you talking the ‘daniel pipes palestinians’ thread?

  • Cassidy

    First of all it’s absurd to use Pipes as a source, y’know the same guy who was ‘elated’ by a fascist.

    “The Nazis also did much to familiarize Muslims with anti-Semitism.”

    Quick question, if Muslims were totally unfamiliar with anti-Semitism prior to the Nazis why did so many ally themselves with the Nazis?

    “Also, I had to add this, just so that Spencer can see, that the founding fathers of the US wanted to separate state from Christianity. They saw that Christianity had hindered progress in Europe for centuries.”

    Wrong, they didn’t all agree on Christianity, it’s incorrect to act as if the founding fathers had their brains wired together.

    “Europe actually got her knowledge from the Islamic empires until she shed Christiantiy for secularism, but that did not happen till after the USA was formed.”

    Wrong, Europe was not some barbaric hellhole in need of the saving touch of islam, take the Visigoths for example who had an advanced culture (influenced by the Romans) and a law system that gave women far more rights than islamic law and that’s just one example. Second of all the claim that ‘the west got it’s knowho from islam’ is incorrect (apart from the fact that Greek science flourished before islam even existed) since it’s actually the other way around since the Islamic world greatly benefited from the translation of Greek texts and no Arab science cannot be credited to Islam, that would be as absurd as crediting Copernicus’ genius to Catholicism.

    James Madison, original mastermind of the USA Constitution, wrote In 1785 :-
    “What have been [Christianity’s] fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

    Madison had a strong disdain for Christianity so quoting him on Christianity is like quoting Bobby Spencer about islam.

  • Cassidy

    “Historians lose any reference to Irish Jews for about another century. In 1174, Jews are afforded the right to exist in Ireland, but only as the property of the King–the familiar theme of Serfs of the Royal Chamber (refer to my rebuttal), the Christian state’s corollary to the Church’s Perpetual Servitude. In 1290, Jews are expelled from Ireland, and do not return for hundreds of years…until about 1665. (You’re really making this argument right, Cassidy?)”

    They were expelled on the order of Edward I; a foreign occupier, pretend somebody takes over a man’s home and abuses his family can you blame the abuse on the original owner? Second of all you’re wrong about Jews not returning to Ireland until 1665, Marrano Jews settled in Ireland in the 15th century.

    “Upon their return to Ireland, Jews faced severe discrimination”

    If so then why did Ireland only have one pogrom? Why was William Annyas (an Irish Jew) elected to the office of mayor?

    “and legislation proposing citizenship for Jews was roundly defeated in 1743.”

    “Irish Jews, like their coreligionists in the rest of Christian Europe, were forbidden from entering guilds–a crushing occupational and financial burden that explains why Jews of Europe had it so much worse than their counterparts in Islamdom (refer here).”

    Right but those were laws imposed by a foreign occupier (which parallel the conditions so many Irish people lived under just look at the penal laws for example). Second of all Irish Jews actually fared better than the Irish themselves, since the Irish Jews weren’t sold into slavery, massacred by Cromwellian forces etc.

    “In the 1890’s and early 1900’s, antisemitism made a resurgence, resulting in a boycott of Jews and culminating in the Lemirick pogrom which you mention.”

    Obviously anti-semitism existed but it couldn’t have been widespread since there was only one pogrom.

    “In the 1920’s and 30’s, antisemitism reached a fever pitch due to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy.”

    A fever pitch with only one pogrom and people welcoming Jewish refugees into their homes? Bit of a stretch, not to mention during the 1930s anti-semitism exploded amongst muslims (ie attacks of Jews during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt), I’m bringing that up since your central argument is that the Islamic world was the lesser of two evils.

    “In the 1940’s, thousands of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany were denied refuge in Ireland.”

    Except you failed to mention that Eamon de Valera over-ruled the Department of Justice and allowed refugees into Ireland and let’s not forget about how many muslims fought for the Nazis (although six thousand Arabs did fight in the Palestine brigade that number’s dwarfed by the Handzar division alone).

    “In the 1960’s, a Jewish synagogue–one of only four in Ireland–was burned down to the ground…It burned to the ground just like Cassidy’s argument that Irish Jews fared better than the Jews of Islam.”

    And it was a terrible hate crime, however it was kids stuff compared to the wave of terrorist attack launched on Israel by – wait for it – muslims.

    “Perhaps one of the reasons Cassidy mentions Wales is because there were no Jewish communities in the region up until the eighteenth century, a fact which of course reveals her ignorance on the subject.”

    Did I say that Jews had been in Wales prior to the 18th century? No I did not.

    “Cassidy’s approach typifies the Islamophobic mindset, as I already discussed in my reply to Robert Spencer above”

    I am not an islamophobe that be as absurd as a Robert Spencer fanboy calling you a ‘dhimmi’.

    “Instead, Cassidy is trying to foist upon us this unfair comparison, taking the absolute best of Christian Europe and comparing it with that of the absolute worst–or even the average–situation in the realm of Islam.”

    My intention was to mention history that you left out, I wasn’t trying to stick up spencer.

  • Danios

    Cassidy, first: sorry for referring to you in the feminine. I’ll fix that.

    Second: Are you Barry? You sound like him.

    Third: you said, “You did nothing of the kind.” Well, I posted your reply and responded. Will you be man enough to admit that you were taken to task?

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • Cassidy

    “cassidy is a pro-Israel propagandist.”

    I’m nothing of the kind.

    “She would excuse the brutal treatment of Jews in Christian Europe if it would provide an anti-Muslim/anti-Arab narrative.”

    That wasn’t my point at all, second of all I’m a he.

    “This allows her to argue that Muslims have always been bad to the Jews and so their anti-Israel stance is nothing new whereas Christians treated Jews more fairly and so their pro-Israel stance is understandable and consistent with history.”

    I’ve barely mentioned Israel while I’ve been here, but in your world anyone who disagrees with you must be a ‘zionist’.

    “I took her to task on her anti-Palestinian posts in another article.”

    You did nothing of the kind, my reply to you simply wasn’t posted.

  • Nabeela

    Danios,

    LOL, regarding the truck driver comment about D Pipes, He doesnt revise history as much as Spencer, that’s why the right wing kooks denigrate him so much. Believe it or not, some call him an “Islamophile” pretending to be “counter Jihadi”. I explained this to Lex in another thread, when he said, that Pipes was villified in Gellers circle.

    Anyway, here are two more Dan Pipes references, others have been posted above already. The reason he has credibility here more than Mark Cohen is because Spencer actually sees Pipes as on the “same side”. He will merely dismiss Mark Cohen as an “Islamophile” or “dhimmi”.

    Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages
    by Mark R. Cohen
    http://www.danielpipes.org/677/under-crescent-and-cross-the-jews-in-the-middle-ages
    Yes, he concludes, Jews were better off in the Muslim world. In part, this was a matter of physical security. “The Jews of Islam, especially during the formative and classical centuries (up to the thirteenth century), experienced much less persecution than did the Jews of Christendom

    The Politics of Muslim Anti-Semitism
    http://www.danielpipes.org/161/the-politics-of-muslim-anti-semitism
    by Daniel Pipes
    ” This is puzzling, for until recently Muslims had nothing in their lexicon corresponding to Christian anti-Semitism. Jews had lived among Muslims since the days of Muhammad without ever becoming the target of base, far-fetched attacks ”

    “A Muslim believes so confidently in the perfection of Islam that he cannot quite comprehend why Jews and Christians continue to follow their outmoded and imperfect versions of the truth.
    Oddly enough, this very confidence has allowed Islam to tolerate minorities better than Christianity, as may be seen in the greater religious diversity of the Middle East than in Europe.”

    “Such sanctioned toleration has no Christian counterpart; under Islam, Jews were second-class citizens but they were part of the legal landscape, not the problematic anomaly they presented the Christian world.

    Historically, Jews and Christians under Muslim rule received about equal treatment.”

    In pre-modern times, they lived markedly better under Islam than under Christianity.”

    Muslim attitudes toward Jews began to change in the nineteenth century.

    Along with much else, they also learned about anti-Semitism. Not surprisingly, the Arabic-speaking Christians of the Levant proved most receptive to theories of Jewish perfidy. Assisted by Europeans living in the region, Middle Eastern Christians played a key role in transmitting anti-Semitic notions to the Muslims.

    The Nazis also did much to familiarize Muslims with anti-Semitism.
    To a large degree anti-Semitism followed political hostilities with Israel – it did not cause them.

    ————–

    Also, I had to add this, just so that Spencer can see, that the founding fathers of the US wanted to separate state from Christianity. They saw that Christianity had hindered progress in Europe for centuries. Europe actually got her knowledge from the Islamic empires, until she shed Christiantiy for secularism, but that did not happen till after the USA was formed.

    James Madison, original mastermind of the USA Constitution, wrote In 1785 :-
    “What have been [Christianity’s] fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

  • Danios

    Zatti:

    Thanks a lot.

    Layla:

    “Good article Loon Watch. Keep up the excellent work!”

    Thank you. 🙂

    Lex:

    “Good luck with keeping him on topic in emails. I assume that’s the mode of communication at any rate. If you, by any chance, decide to go and debate these points in threads at Jihad Watch, I for one will gladly be part of your Infantry;)”

    To clarify: I am not debating Robert Spencer via email, as I would find that to be a waste of time. Rather, I am posting my rebuttals of him on this website (LW). I will be refuting each and every single one of his arguments here on this site, and will be monitoring his website for counter-replies. This is the only fair way to debate with Spencer: I post my replies on our site, and he on his…Nobody can be accused of censoring the other then.

    But thank you for your support, and yes we can definitely use infantry!

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • Danios

    AF:

    Thanks a lot.

    Garo:

    “Danios: Being a life time student of Islamic civilization,human history, Arabic language,poetry and prose and anti-Ziofascism since 1950s,I cannot thank you enough for the spledid and,indeed,marvelous job you have been doing in your effort to expose the bigots and their bigotry against Islam and Muslims. Most appreciated”

    Thank you for the kind words and the other quotes you provided.

    Obert S. Pencer:

    I changed your user name from Robert Spencer to Obert S. Pencer just because I do not want to allow the precedent of using other peoples’ names. But I thank you for the funny comments! Feel free to post as Obert.

    Pagan:

    Thanks!

    Reza:

    Thank you for your excellent post. The point about Daniel Pipes is extremely strong and I think I’ll add it to the original article. (I seem to have confused you with Nabeela, as I thought it was her who had brought up this point earlier. Seems like you both have. Well, it’s a great point, and I think I’ll add it.)

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • Danios

    iSherif:

    Thank you!

    Yusuf:

    I agree with you about Cassidy’s huge bias.

    Garibaldi:

    “Danios, Cassidy sounds a lot like another person who used to comment here, remember Barry Lyndon?”

    Ahhhh, yes I see it now. The two sound exactly alike. Perhaps Cassidy will now reinvent herself/himself with another alias, due to the embarrassment of being shut down so hard.

    Nabeela:

    “brilliant work, you guys are reallllllllly awesome,”

    Thanks!

    “Garibaldi, and Emperor, and Mooneye, and the others,”

    Don’t forget about Zingel, who has been posting some awesome stuff.

    “I note that you and Lex and Muzammil have some kind of history with Rob Spencer.”

    Actually, I do not have any history with Robert Spencer. Just want to clarify that.

    Nabeela, the points you bring up about Daniel Pipes are really good. I am thinking of adding them to the article itself. I read the review by Pipes long time ago, and yes you are right: Pipes does not contest the conclusion. Perhaps is the remnant of scholarship in him, which his “truck driver mentality” could not get out of his system. Although I don’t consider Pipes an academic (as he was unfit for academia and left it), I do think that his experience must have made him realize how stupid he would sound if he used Robert Spencer’s childish argument that Jews were treated better in Christendom than in the realm of Islam.

    Anyways, if you could shoot us an email with all your points about Pipes, it would make my job ten times easier…that way I wouldn’t have to sift through all the comments to find the other points you raised in other places…Then I’ll try to find a way to add it to the original article or a future one. Thanks.

    “But before I do that, i want to give you the contact details of one of the best Mid East publishers in London…”

    Interesting. Thanks. I’ll definitely look into it in the near future.

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

  • Garibaldi

    Nabeela,

    Thank you for your post and the compliments for the site.

    Also thank you for the feedback, I understand your complaint, but at the moment we are quite happy with the moderated forum for discussion in the comment section. It might make a few people unhappy, but I think our comment policy is quite reasonable. We check Spam to make sure to retreive any comments that don’t belong there.

  • Nabeela

    Cassidy

    Please provide a reference source for your assertion.

    Danios,

    brilliant work, you guys are reallllllllly awesome, (i know i sound like a sick parrot) you and Garibaldi, and Emperor, and Mooneye, and the others, (since i’ve been here, i’ve read you four but im sure there are others i’ve missed) you have material here that isn’t available anywhere on the internet. I marvel at this website.

    I note that you and Lex and Muzammil have some kind of history with Rob Spencer. I never really bothered with him, as most of his reading base is the uneducated mass in America. Unfortunatley, by world standards, Americans rank low in historical knowledge, that is why he even has a market. Bat Yeor’s book, on Eurabia, only sold 50 copies in Europe, where people are more well informed.

    I was wondering, are the comments at this website automatically sifted as spam sometimes?

    I’m not sure if this is a good idea. I’ve noticed that some of my posts, don’t appear, which i post from other identities. I use a different name from my laptop, and another yet again from my home computer. Which means that maybe there are other people whose posts do not appear. I hope you or admin can review that, if that is the case. It will be offputting for new commentors, and they may not post. I know that in online survery’s almost overwhelmingly people say they don’t post comments if there is a long waiting list or a censor or too many bells and whistle to register etc.

    Regarding the article above your rebuttal to Spencer’s assertion that Jews were treated better under Christianity, others above have already posted scholarly resources, interestingly, Daniel Pipes has done a review of Mark Cohens book that you used above. He concurs with him.

    Does Robert Spencer think that Daniel Pipes doens’t know his own history? Since they are buddies, is there anyway you could ask Spencer to comment on this?

    i will post an article by Daniel Pipes in my next post, which explains how Christian colonisers brought anti-semitism to the Mid East.

    But before I do that, i want to give you the contact details of one of the best Mid East publishers in London called “Saqi”. They also have bookshops. I know it’s early days, and your book “Pathetically incorrect guide to Islam by Robert Spencer” isn’t complete yet, but you could approach them and plan, The book may be too niche for a mainstream publisher to take on.

    http://www.saqibooks.com

    Akbar S. Ahmed and the renowned Brian Whittaker (The Guardian journalist who exposed MEMRI as being an Israeli far right propoganda machine) have published books with them.

    I (and other readers here) look forward to seeing your book on Amazon too:)

  • Garibaldi

    Danios,

    Great article. Danios, Cassidy sounds a lot like another person who used to comment here, remember Barry Lyndon?

    These loons can’t get enough. No need to regurgitate info these people can’t bear to swallow, just link ’em back to the replies they have already received. Nice.

    -Garibaldi

  • Yusuf

    On your great rebuttal of cassidy’s ridiculous post:

    cassidy is a pro-Israel propagandist. She would excuse the brutal treatment of Jews in Christian Europe if it would provide an anti-Muslim/anti-Arab narrative. This allows her to argue that Muslims have always been bad to the Jews and so their anti-Israel stance is nothing new whereas Christians treated Jews more fairly and so their pro-Israel stance is understandable and consistent with history.

    This is the context of her post. Always keep it mind when reading her comments. I took her to task on her anti-Palestinian posts in another article.

  • iSherif

    OMG, there is some serious carnage happening on this page!! Pieces of Spencer lying all over the place. Absolute gem of a rebuttal Danios!! There’s not a chance in hell he can recover from this. Amazing!! 🙂

  • Danios

    Cassidy, click here to read my reply to you.

    *Danios pops his collar* [note: see definition three]

    As for your last paragraph, that’s again trying to move the goalposts and I will not be baited. How hard is it for you to understand that I will deal with the contemporary situation in a follow-up article? And trust me, I’ll be popping my collar then too.

    Everyone else: Thank you very much for your kind words. I will reply to each of you tomorrow, as I am officially pooped after writing what I did to Cassidy. Do check out the Update and let me know what you all think. I admit I run on compliments. 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Danios.

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